Is Britain Really The Dumbest Nation In The World or Is It Having A Major Existential Crisis?
A riposte to a nonsensical article that I read a few days ago.
The United Kingdom of Britain is on its way to being a failed state. Britain has left the European Union, The Scots are clamouring for independence, despite the current internecine warfare being waged between the leading lights of Scottish nationalism and a united Ireland seems a distinct possibility.
And let's not talk about the monarchy, with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex lining up to defecate on the oldest monarchy in the world, thus putting Charles' position as the first in line to the throne in serious peril.
Or is it?
Anyone who knows their history will point out that Britain emerged from world two triumphant but also incredibly broke and demoralized. An election was called and the man who won the war - Winston Churchill - was promptly sacked by the electorate and Clement Attlee's Labour party, found itself commanding a majority in the house of parliament. And yet, from this position of profound disadvantage was able to build the National Health Service.
The post-war consensus was the mode in which Britain governed from 1945–1979, during which Britain lost much of its empire and had to take a loan from the IMF in 1976. Its sobriquet back then was the 'sick man of Europe'. Anyone who remembers the 1970s would talk about the three day week when full electricity was on for only three days and a time when the unions had so much power and brought down Ted Heath's government. The civil servants, also known as the mandarins, had a simple policy - the orderly management of decline. This stayed that way until Margaret Thatcher was elected in 1979.
Dominic Sandbrook; A 1970s historian. Courtesy of The RSA and YouTube.
On her watch, Britain privatized vast swathes of its economy, deregulated its financial services and its economy generally boomed. During the 1980s, investment in public services, by this, I mean, schools and hospitals declined a great deal.
By the time George Soros speculated against the sterling and made a billion in profits, the conservatives had been in power for 13 years at that stage and completely lost their credibility for economic competence.
Enter Tony Blair and Gordon Brown's New Labour government. They did their best in undoing 18 years of Tory underinvestment in public services by pumping huge amounts of money but the damage was already done.
On the 1st of May 2004, the Eastern European countries became full members of the EU. with that came huge waves of migration to Britain. The numbers which came in was much more than France, Germany and Italy. This decision had, undoubtedly, devastating consequences for the Labour party, in terms of its electability.
Yes, there was the economic collapse starting with Northern rock in 2007 and by extension, several other finance giants, which nearly tipped the global economy on its head, to which Gordon Brown summoned other global leaders to London and hammered out a deal in January 2009.
The conservatives who came in as part of a coalition in 2010, embarked on a policy of imposing the bedroom tax and austerity on the poor members of society helped transfer wealth from the poor to the profoundly wealthy. This was deliberate and carefully orchestrated.
The notion of bigotry, prejudice and what we refer to in Britain as the 'little Englander' has always been with us; (watch old episodes of faulty towers, love thy neighbour, till death do us part etc to get a much fuller picture.) this didn't start when David Cameron became Prime Minister- It was only amplified due to the execrable economic conditions, under which people lived.
Brexit was the resolution of years of internecine warfare among the conservatives since Thatcher was defenestrated in 1990 and also as I stated in my previous article, English nationalism at its very worst.
To write that Britain's current problems are recent is to demonstrate a profound lack of knowledge of history.
Since the act of union in 1707, the United Kingdom has fought several major wars, overseen the dismantling of its empire, battled major economic decline, became a major financial powerhouse, reinvented itself as cool Britannia, survived terrorist attacks, hosted a phenomenally successful Olympics, won a referendum on Scottish independence, voted to leave the EU and is now grappling with a major existential and identity crisis of who she is and where she should be.
If history has taught us anything is that Britain is more than fully equipped to pull itself back from the abyss and duly recast itself.
That's all there is to it.
Thanks very much for reading.